By Laura Howenstine, Dietetic Intern, Keene State College
These days there is fast food on every corner. This makes it all too easy to slide on in the drive thru line at lunchtime. Planning ahead to pack a healthy lunch for a busy workday can seem daunting and time-consuming. Work weeks are busy and can be stressful, so the last thing you want to do is create more work. But with just a little planning you can quickly create a week’s worth of healthy lunches.
An easy way to plan ahead is to choose your least busy day of the week to designate as your cooking day (perhaps on the weekend). Take advantage of your time and make enough packed lunches for the work week. Make an easy soup, a new salad, or portion out leftovers for the week. Make sure to pack snacks as well to avoid impulse buys later on.
Need some inspiration? Here are some quick and healthy lunch ideas:
- Smoothies: Make a large smoothie at the beginning of the week and freeze in small containers for the week. Then on a busy morning just grab one and go.
- Leftovers: Have leftover food from dinner last night? Bring it for lunch!
- Salads: Need to clean out the veggie drawer? Make a new salad for lunch; switch up the toppings, dressings, or protein to keep them interesting.
- Sandwiches: You’re never too old for an old-fashioned PB&J. Also try sandwiches made on whole wheat bread from low-fat cheese, lean meats or vegetarian protein, and add a few extra veggies. Instead of calorie-heavy mayonnaise try mustard, pesto, hummus, aioli or chutney.
- Snacks: Snack on healthy food to keep your hunger in check without the extra calories. Bring whole fruit, veggies and hummus, string cheese, yogurt or popcorn.
Packing a healthy lunch can be fun and easy if you just plan ahead. Make small changes, plan ahead, and switch up the routine.